Dead man talking

Osama bin Laden may be gone, but he’s not forgotten

Last week, in an audiotape released on the Internet, Osama bin Laden advised Europeans to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. “An intelligent man doesn’t waste his money and sons for a gang of criminals in Washington,” the terrorist mastermind said. “It is a shameful thing for a person to be in a coalition whose supreme commander has no regard for human life and intentionally bombs villagers from the air.”

It was a pretty good trick, considering bin Laden has been dead since December 2001.

Of course, I don’t have any proof that bin Laden is dead. It’s just a hunch, but one that’s shared by high-ranking officials such as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf; and Dale Watson, the former assistant director for the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI.

We can only hope that the adjective “former” before each of those official’s names has nothing to do with their belief bin Laden is dead. As The American Spectator’s Angelo Codevilla noted earlier this year in an article titled “Osama bin Elvis,” no one has independently confirmed that that the voice on the score of audiotapes released since December 2001 is in fact bin Laden’s.

“All the evidence suggests Elvis Presley is more alive today than Osama bin Laden,” Codevilla writes. “But tell that to the CIA and all the other misconceptualizers of the War on Terror.”

As Codevilla notes, Switzerland’s Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence, which specializes in computer voice recognition, compared the voices on 15 undisputed recordings of Osama made before December 2001 with the voices on 15 subsequent ones attributed to Osama.

“All of the purported Osama recordings (with one falling into a gray area) differed clearly from one another as well as from the genuine ones,” Codevilla remarks. “By contrast, the CIA found all the recordings authentic. It is hard to imagine what methodology might support this conclusion.”

It’s worth noting that The American Spectator is a conservative publication. But Codevilla’s belief that bin Laden is dead is shared by members of the opposite end of the political spectrum as well. In his latest book, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?, David Ray Griffin, one of the more respectable members of the 9/11 Truth movement, examines the available evidence and reaches a similar conclusion.

Griffin begins with former CIA case officer Robert Baer’s contention, first made last October on National Public Radio, that bin Laden is without doubt dead. A 20-year veteran of the intelligence service, Baer has expertise in matters Middle East—his books See No Evil and Sleeping With the Devil inspired the film Syriana. When asked by host Terry Gross why he believes bin Laden is dead, Baer replied:

“He hasn’t shown up. I’ve taken in the last month a poll of CIA officers who have been on his trail, and what astounded me was not a single one was sure he was alive or dead. I mean, this man disappeared off the face of the Earth. That has never happened before in my years in the CIA.”

Griffin surmises that the best available evidence indicates that bin Laden died from kidney failure and was buried in an unmarked grave in Tora Bora around December 13, 2001, as first reported in Pakistan’s Observer newspaper on December 25, and subsequently repeated on, of all places, Fox News.

So, if bin Laden is dead, who’s fabricating the audiotapes? Who has the most to gain from such chicanery?

Griffin ticks off the convenient timing of many of the messages, including the recording received on October 29, 2004, just before the presidential election. Interestingly, both George W. Bush and John Kerry credit the recording, which ratcheted up the electorate’s fear of another terrorist attack on America, for Bush’s razor-thin margin of victory.

Coincidentally, the latest purported bin Laden tape, which included German subtitles, came just before Germany’s presidential election and immediately after Chancellor Angela Merkel was forced to explain to parliament an air strike on Afghan civilians ordered by a German commander. Merkel is a key U.S. ally in what is increasingly becoming a very unpopular war, and her chance for re-election looked shaky before the tape’s release. As it was, she eeked out a squeaker.

It’s left to up to the reader to decide who benefitted from this dead man talking. Suffice it to say, timing is everything.